The Grateful Crane Ensemble performed "Nihonmachi: The Place to Be" at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California in San Francisco in 2006. (Hokubei Mainichi)
The Grateful Crane Ensemble performed “Nihonmachi: The Place to Be” at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California in San Francisco in 2006. (Hokubei Mainichi)

SAN FRANCISCO — The Grateful Crane Ensemble will be presenting the best songs the group has sung over the past 13 years in “The Best of Grateful Crane” on Saturday, Nov. 22, at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco.

This show marks the Southern California-based ensemble’s return to San Francisco after delighting local audiences with its “Camp Dance” and “Nihonmachi: The Place to Be” shows in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Nostalgic and popular Japanese and American songs from both of these shows will be presented in “The Best of Grateful Crane” along with numerous other songs the Ensemble has performed in various shows since its inception in 2001.

“Music and songs have played a very important role throughout our history in America,” said Soji Kashiwagi, Executive Producer of the Grateful Crane Ensemble. “They have given us hope and strength during some very tough times. And so the songs in our show are full of meaning and nostalgia. Each song will be placed in a historical context and will take the audience on a musical journey through our history in America.”

Sung in honor of the Issei and Nisei pioneers, some of the songs featured in the show include wartime favorites such as “Moonlight Serenade,” “Dream,” and “Stardust,” and Japanese classics such as “Koko ni Sachi Ari,” “Sukiyaki,” ‘Yawara,” and “Kawa no Nagare no Youni.”

Cast members for the show include long-time Grateful Crane members Jason Fong, Haruye Ioka, Keiko Kawashima, Kurt Kuniyoshi, Darrell Kunitomi, and Merv Maruyama. Grateful Crane’s musical director, Scott Nagatani, will accompany the group on keyboards.

Kashiwagi, son of long-time San Francisco residents Hiroshi and Sadako Kashiwagi, is looking forward to returning to San Francisco as his group pays a musical tribute to all those of who opened the doors for the younger generations to live a better life in America.

“I grew up at the Buddhist Church and in San Francisco’s Japantown,” said Kashiwagi. “It’s going to be fun to come home and share these songs that are sure to bring back many fond memories for the older folks who lived through them, and entertain everyone else with some of the best songs our community has ever known.”

The Buddhist Church of San Francisco is located at 1881 Pine St. (at Octavia) in San Francisco. A free shuttle will be provided from the Japantown Peace Plaza, Post and Buchanan streets, to the church.

General admission tickets are $25. For tickets and information, call the BCSF at (415) 776-3158 on weekdays between 2 and 5 p.m. or email

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